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European Space Agency Started 'JUICE Mission' to study Jupiter and its Satellites

Published on April 15, 2023
Current Context: On 13 April 2023, the European Space Agency has launched the 'Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer (JUICE) mission' to study Jupiter and its icy moons namely Ganymede, Callisto and Europa.
European Space Agency Started 'JUICE Mission' to study Jupiter and its Satellites
  • The spacecraft, which cost 1.6 billion euros ($1.7 billion), was manufactured by Airbus Defense and Space, a division of the Airbus Group.
  • It was launched into orbit using the Ariane 5 launcher from French Guiana, and is expected to enter Ganymede's orbit in 2034.
  • The mission's main focus is Ganymede, which is the largest moon in the Solar System and has its own magnetic field.
  • The three moons - Ganymede, Callisto, and Europa - are believed to contain substantial amounts of water, which could potentially make them habitable.
  • Objective
    • The primary goal of this mission is to conduct detailed mapping of the lunar surfaces and analyse the sub-surface water bodies to determine the potential habitability of the environment. Additionally, the mission aims to gain a comprehensive understanding of Jupiter, including its origin, history and evolution.
  • Former Mission
    • Jupiter has been visited by nine spacecraft, out of which two orbited the gas giant while the rest flew by. During the Voyager mission in 1979, the faint ring system of Jupiter was discovered. The Galileo Probe, sent by NASA, orbited the planet from 1995 to 2003. Juno, also launched by NASA, has been orbiting the planet since 2016.
  • Jupiter:
    • As the largest planet in the Solar System and fifth from the Sun, Jupiter is categorized as a gas giant or Jovian planet, along with Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune. Jupiter's dense atmosphere comprises mostly hydrogen and helium, and it has a total of more than 75 moons. The planet's four largest moons, discovered by the Italian astronomer Galileo Galilei in 1610, are known as the Galilean satellites, named Io, Europa, Ganymede, and Calisto.

Question:

Q.1 Recently who has started the 'JUICE mission' for the study of Jupiter and its satellites?
a. NASA
b. European Space Agency
c. ISRO
d. JAXA
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